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Bridging The Gap
Microsoft unveils Xbox One X
  Sunday 11 June, 2017
Microsoft unveils Xbox One X

Microsoft has unveiled the latest games console in its line-up, a more powerful version of the Xbox One called the Xbox One X.

The tech giant touted the machine's specs, including its ability to run games in 4K ultra-HD, ahead of the E3 games show in Los Angeles.

To be released on 7 November, the Xbox One X will cost $499, or 449 in the UK.

One analyst said Microsoft was keen to keep attracting hardcore gamers.

The system, which also runs games at 60 frames-per-second (fps), was labelled "the most powerful console ever made" on stage by Phil Spencer, head of Xbox.

It is also the smallest Xbox yet.

It joins the Xbox One S - a slimmer version of the Xbox One that supports 4K video streaming - in the roster of consoles that make up Microsoft's latest console generation.

The Xbox One X's name raised a few eyebrows, with some gamers describing it as a "tongue-twister" online.

"I suspect we'll get used to it - the same way we got used to the Wii and Wii U," said Paul Jackson, an analyst at Ovum.

Sony, too, has a console with 4K capabilities - the PS4 Pro - which it released in November last year.

However, the PS4 Pro's specifications - including memory and processor speed - are lower than those of the Xbox One X.

It boasts 12 gigabytes of RAM to the PS4 Pro's 8 gigabytes, for example, and 6 teraflops of graphics processing power compared to 4.12.

Plus, unlike Sony's machine, Microsoft's is able to play 4K ultra-HD Blu-ray discs.

Both consoles can "scale up" games not made at 4K resolution to enhance their visuals.

However, while the Xbox One X is capable of supporting virtual reality gaming, there was almost no mention of this during the presentation and no demonstrations of games that use VR headsets.
For the fans

"The Xbox One X is targeted at a specific audience, which is at this stage early-adopting Xbox fans - console gamers that want the best device," said Piers Harding-Rolls, a gaming analyst at IHS Technology.

The console will also be immediately compatible with all existing Xbox One games.

This was another point that would play well with the hardcore fans, suggested Mr Harding-Rolls.

However, he added that the broader spectrum of gamers would likely be more interested in new titles exclusive to the console that might tempt them into buying it.

He added, though, that there was not much on offer that appeared targeted at families and younger gamers - but Super Lucky's Tale, a brightly coloured platform game featuring a plucky fox, did fall into this category.

"I didn't really see anything else which was oriented at the family," Mr Harding-Rolls noted.

It was possible that allowing gamers to play visually enhanced versions of Xbox One games on the most powerful version of the console would encourage them to make the jump to the beefier hardware, suggested Mr Jackson.

"It could drive platform preference and earlier uptake of the new device," he said.

Analysis: Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter, Los Angeles

Before the Xbox event, the BBC was given a brief look at the new console. With its 4K, 60 fps visuals, it of course looks terrific. But I think there are big questions about Microsoft's strategy.

Xbox wants all the games to be completely backwards-compatible with the cheaper Xbox consoles, and so the only improvements will be visual - no new gameplay experiences making use of that extra computing power. At $499, that's a big additional cost when - to its credit - the Xbox One is still a graphically brilliant console.

You won't notice much difference unless you have the TV and surround system to do the new hardware justice.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40243401

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